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Hofmann - "Islamic Personality of the Year"-2009

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    Posted: 27 October 2009 at 11:12am
Wilfried Murad Hofmann Honoured
"Islamic Personality of the Year"
Wilfried Murad Hofmann, a former German diplomat and a convert to Islam, has received one of the most important prizes in the Muslim world. He's been chosen as "Islamic Personality of the Year" in Dubai. A portrait by Ulrike Hummel 
Wilfried Murad Hofmann: "I see my selection as a sign, but also as recognition of what Muslims have managed to achieve for Islam in Western Europe"
 | The prize-winners who have gone before him make an impressive list, including such figures as the former Bosnian president, Alija Izetbegovic. Now, at a ceremony in Dubai, Wilfried Murad Hoffmann, a convert to Islam, has received one of the most important awards in the Muslim world.
Hoffmann, who's 78 and a former German diplomat, was honoured for his life's work - and especially for his writings on Islam – by the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktum. 
"Of course, I don't know how they picked on me," he says modestly on being asked why he was chosen. He only knew that, by picking a Muslim from a non-Muslim country, the organisers had wanted to send a signal. It could have just as well been a Muslim from America or elsewhere in Western Europe. "I see my selection as a sign, but also as recognition of what Muslims have managed to achieve for Islam in Western Europe," he says.
More fame and honour than Barack Obama?
Wilfried Murad Hofmann converted to Islam in 1980. He is one of the best-known Muslims in Germany and is the first convert to be honoured in the context of the "Dubai International Holy Quran Award." He was surprised that he had been chosen when he found out, only five days before the ceremony. The prize was linked to a personal invitation to Sheikh Mohammed's desert tent, where he had the chance to speak at length with him. 
Newspaper cuttings make clear that some print media in the Gulf consider the award of this honour to a German as more important news than the forthcoming visit of Barack Obama.
A very own way of approaching Islam
Hofmann was born in Aschaffenburg and studied law in Munich and American law at the Harvard Law School. From 1961 to 1994 he was in Germany's diplomatic service, where he was information director at NATO headquarters in Brussels, and finally, ambassador to Algeria and Morocco. Mohammed Aman Hobohm, also a convert, who has known Hofmann for many years, sees his achievement in his having found his own way of approaching Islam. 
In Germany, Hofmann has been criticised for his traditionalist understanding of Islam
 | He had long concerned himself with philosophy. "He had studied philosophy," says Hobohm. "That's something you can tell from his writings." His first book, "A Philosophical Way into Islam," was the fruit of his first such approach to the religion, and it determined the way he looked at the teachings of Islam.
Hofmann became well-known particularly for his many publications on Islam, and his many lectures in Western Europe, the US and the Islamic world. His contribution to a translation of the Koran which appeared in 1998 is also seen as significant. The Central Council of Muslims in Germany see the fact that he is the second European and the first convert to be honoured as "Islamic Personality of the Year" as recognition of the achievements of Muslims from countries which are not the core countries of Islam as well as those of converts.
Criticism from feminists
In spite of his achievements and his reputation within the Muslim world, Wilfried Murad Hofmann remains a controversial figure. The very fact that, in 1980, while he was still a senior diplomat, he announced that he was converting to Islam, was considered a provocation. In "Islam as an Alternative", published in 1992, Hofman drew criticism when he said that the western world seemed to him degenerate. 
"He analyses things very rationally, and sometimes he's so tough when he unmasks the weaknesses of our society and how it's gone wrong, that it almost takes your breath away," says Aiman Mazyek of the Central Council of Muslims. But, he adds, he does this as an observer or a reporter, and not as a know-all. However, feminists have been particularly critical of his works, saying that he fails to take adequate account of the rights of women in the Islam he represents.
The "Islamic Personality of the Year" award goes together with a prize of 180,000 euros. Murad Hofmann has said he will give some of the money to the Central Council of Muslims in Germany to start a foundation for the benefit of Islam. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote abuayisha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2009 at 1:52pm

Western scholar chosen as 2009 Islamic personality


Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, hands over the award to Dr Hoffman at a ceremony in Dubai on Sep 10, 09, Thursday night.

Dubai: More than six decades ago he survived the Second World War and witnessed the fall of 50 American warplanes from the skies of Berlin and today he stands to be honoured for his role to Islam.
The prominent western Islamic scholar Dr Murad Wilfried Hofmann was chosen by the committee of Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA) as the Islamic Personality of 2009 for his countless contributions to Islam and was honoured in a ceremony Thursday at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The ceremony also marks the end of the Holy Quran competition which hosted 85 contestants from different countries and continents with 10 participants selected among the top winners of the international competition held annually. An Indian contestant came in the first place followed by a Sudanese and a Nigerian in the second and the third place, respectively.
During the ceremony, Chairman of the DIHQA organising committee Ebrahim Bu Melha said: “The Award has created a new era in the field of competitions as it includes the International Holy Quran Award, Residential Quran Award, Quran Award for citizens, Award for beautiful recitations, Printing and publishing of Islamic related books, and Award programmes for the detainees.”
Dr Hofmann was born in 1931 into a German Catholic family as Wilfried A. Hofmann. He graduated with honours from Munich University Law School, having written his doctorate thesis on Contempt of Court in American and German Law. He later received a research scholarship from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US allowing him to obtain a degree in American jurisprudence (LL.M.). There he married an American woman who bore him a son.
On his son’s 18th birthday, he wrote a 14-page letter as a gift for him on the philosophy of life and how to discover truth. This letter was later published into a book upon his conversion to Islam in 1980 and is considered as his first book on Islam.
From 1961-1994 Dr Hofmann was a member of the German Foreign Service, serving in Algiers during the Algerian war of independence. He has published around 13 books on the aspects of Islam in Arabic, English, German, Turkish, Albanian, Bosnian, French, Hungarian, Malayalam, and Russian.
“I am grateful for this award because in choosing a European Muslim, for the first time & [Dubai] has given recognition to the important fact that Islam is not an Arab religion or phenomenon but Allah’s religion for all mankind.
“Indeed, through me you are honouring some 30 million Muslims living in Europe, of which 15 million in Western Europe alone. This fact will not go unnoticed in the West,” he said during the ceremony.
“In spite of our diverse languages, skin colours, nationalities, and religious beliefs our unity is one in spirit and devotion, in solidarity and aspiration. If one part of it suffers all do. May this ceremony help to signal to the world-at-large that this unity is a reality, and growing as an effective factor in world politics,” said Dr Hofmann
The Quran Award started in 1997 (1418 Hijri) with only two elements: the competition and the Islamic Personality of the Year award. Today, it has six additional sections: local Quran contestant, programme on memorising the Quran for prisoners, Islamic lectures, UAE national programme, beautiful recitation contest and Quran sciences programme.
The Islamic Personality of The Year gets an award of Dh1 million for his contributions and achievements in the Islamic world.
Source: Gulf  News
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